The swanky car screeched to a halt.Swarna turned to see a young man with dark glasses on the wheel. She had been standing alone in the wretched bus stop that had no shelter for 40 minutes. The sky was overcast with dark clouds getting darker and threatening to break into rain any moment.
“Can I drop you at the first auto stand? It will start raining any moment and there is no shelter. You can get in if it is ok for you” he said
She was hesitant initially but when he opened the front door and she saw no other male occupants, she got in. He did not talk much but dropped her at the nearest auto stand. He waited till she boarded one before he drove away even before she could thank him. He seemed decent.
Three days later the car again stopped and she was dropped. What started as once or twice in a week soon became a daily ritual. They became friends. Vikas came in different vehicles. He told her he was the son of a rich businessman and that he had done management course and was learning his own business. A pleasant faced engaging conversationalist, he won her heart in a short period. She was drawn from middle class circumstances and worked in a private company. Their friendship blossomed into love and they started meeting on weekends.Swarna found him a cultured and nice chap. Nevertheless he was pressurizing her to accompany him to a resort for a weekend. She firmly refused telling that it had to wait till they wed each other.
It was a Sunday and she had an unexpected visit by her college friend Akila.They were close buddies but hardly met after Akila’s marriage.. They had lunch together and had a long chat in her room.
“Akila, I have news to confide in you. I am in love with a guy and we have been meeting regularly. He wants to carry forward the relationship to the next level and I have been restraining him. I told him that my parents would formally approach his” Swarna said
“I am so happy Swarna.I hope he is qualified and employed well. What is his background?.”
“They are very affluent and that is one thing that is bothering me.. His dad has big business and he comes in different cars.Vikas is a management graduate wanting to start his own business” Swarna said.”Here is his picture. Have a look. Isn’t he very handsome?” she asked.
“Yes, he is quite good looking. But his face is very familiar. I have seen him somewhere and recently too. Do you have any other picture?” Akila asked
When Swarna handed her a bunch of pictures of Vikas in different cars, Akila said “Swarna, brace yourself for a shock. This guy is a mechanic in a reputed and big automobile shop. Look at this picture. This car is ours and we had given it for a major overhaul and service. I think he is a big liar and a crook.. Tomorrow take a day off. I will come in my car. I will take you to the workshop and expose that rascal.”
The next day as the car stopped at the large automobile workshop with many cars, Akila got down asking Swarna to stay inside the tinted glass doors. After some time she whispered “Your man is coming towards us. Just lower the glass slightly and see whether he is the guy.”
In a few minutes Swarna heard the voice of Vikas and saw him in the blue overalls of the workers.
He asked Akila as he quickly surveyed the car ”Yes ma’m, what can we do for you?”
“I get some humming sound. By the way what is your good name?”asked Akila.
“Vikas, Vikas Menon to be exact” he said
Immediately the door opened and out came Swarna. Her face was red with anger and disappointment.”So you are a mechanic in this workshop and take daily the cars that are left here with you. Why did you lie to me that you are a management graduate and come from a rich family? I would have loved you even if you are a mechanic had you been truthful. You are a cheapster, a liar and a crook. I curse the day I met you” she shouted and started weeping inconsolably.
“Swarna, don’t come to rash conclusions. Let us go inside the office and talk. People are watching” he softly said
“No, I don’t wish to listen to your falsehoods anymore.Akila, let us go” she shouted
Akila said ”No, let us hear him. Come along with me”
Vikas took them to the office and entered a spacious air conditioned room and offered them the chairs. He sat before them in the richly upholstered chair. Both were surprised. He pressed the bell and a boy in blue overall entered and saluted him.
”Get some cold drink. It is hot today”
He looked sharply at Swarna and said “I am proud to be a worker and work along with my employees. I wish to learn the nuts and bolts of the job even though I am the owner. Turn behind and see the picture. You can see me welcoming the Governor who inaugurated this shop. I dislike rash girls generally but you had a genuine reason.. Thanks to your friend for bringing you here”
Swarna with her face bent down said feebly “I am sorry, Vikas”